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Live TV skip function not working or really slow during recording


Fraser53
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Fraser53

Hello everyone, I'm from Australia and I'm looking to update from SageTV at home, SageTV is still working perfectly, but Emby might provide me with a path forward due to the number of clients that are supported, however, But as above, I think it's probably something to do with transcoding etc. while a recording is active the skipping is really useless as it takes about 10 seconds to complete a skip using the Samsung app, the TV is about a year old, does anyone have any ideas?

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SamES

Are you trying to skip while watching an in-progress recording?  It will depend on the playback mode as to whether this is possible (for example: it is not possible if it is DirectPlay).  That means it is only possible during DirectStream or Transcode playback.  Now, as you are also recording while trying to transcode for playback, it's going to be very dependent on your server and network capability as to how well this works.

If you can give us a better overview of your setup and server specs, and details around the playback modes, logs etc we can help further.

 

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Fraser53

Hello Sam, the server is a i5-8500T 6 core up to 3.5GHz, Tuner is 2 HD Homerun dual tuners (4 total), client is a newish Samsung UA75TU8000WXXY, both are cabled to a 1 gig network. 

I guess i'm surprised as with SageTV a much lower power server can easily deal with 4 clients and 4 different channels all watching and skipping/pausing etc with no transcoding or delays.

I have seen some people mention a "Automatically convert recordings to a streaming friendly format" checkbox, but I can't find that setting anywhere, can you help with that?

also, can I change to directstream etc?

Thanks, as I'd love to move on from SageTV as the client options ate pretty thin as compared to Emby.

 

Cheers,

 

Fraser

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Fraser53

Sam, I've installed the latest Beta server and the skipping etc works fine while transcoding, but not during directplay, and it seems to depend on what channel I'm watching as to weather or not it transcodes

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SamES
28 minutes ago, Fraser53 said:

Sam, I've installed the latest Beta server and the skipping etc works fine while transcoding, but not during directplay, and it seems to depend on what channel I'm watching as to weather or not it transcodes

Yes, that's correct, what you have described is exactly what I expect.  You can trick the DirectPlay channel into transcoding by dropping the Playback quality slightly until the bitrate is lower than the actual stream bitrate.  You just need to remember to change it back to auto as it will remember this setting for all playbacks.  It's not ideal though as you need to do this on a case by case basis.

Ideally we need an option to automatically force streaming of in progress recordings, which would be less intensive than transcoding.

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Fraser53

It also gave an error on several channels saying there was no compatible stream to play!

I really had high hopes for Emby, but It looks like it isn't quite there yet when it comes to supporting Live TV which is what we use for 80% of our TV.

I find it strange that it needs to transcode something that the TV's hardware can clearly play natively, it's also disappointing that it can't use the tv guide that is part of the OTA stream that the HD Homerun software can read.

I wish they had a trial option as now I need to cancel my subscription, I'll check back again in a year or so and see if they have developed it further.

 

Thanks for your help Sam 🙂

 

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SamES
1 hour ago, Fraser53 said:

I find it strange that it needs to transcode something that the TV's hardware can clearly play natively, it's also disappointing that it can't use the tv guide that is part of the OTA stream that the HD Homerun software can read.

Can you provide some examples?

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Fraser53
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SamES said:

Can you provide some examples?

the TV is an Australian model so it can play our DVBt tv just fine, however, when the streams are captured by the HD Homerun tuners, the Emby client running on the same hardware is unable to play the same files without transcoding on the server side. This is where SageTV excells, it can record 4 streams and play 4 streams all "time-shifted" at the same time and not get over 8% CPU on my little USFF desktop "server". I did notice at one point Emby server was transcoding a h264 stream to a h264qsv (or something like that) for playing on the TV.

I'm guessing at the moment we have some channels broadcasting using MPEG2 and some using h264. this would explain why some channels were transcoding and others were not, but I still think the TV should have been able to deal with all the streams anyway (but i am assuming the client has proper access to the TV's hardware. At the moment my SageTV setup uses dedicated set top boxes on each TV to connect to the server, and these boxes can play most files natively, but as they are over 10 years old now, they can't do the newer h265 stuff. it's such a shame we are such a small market here in Australia so there is little reason for all the US companies to make their software work well here on our PAL DVBt system 😞

I was one of the Beta testers with SageTV before Google bought them out (and shut down the original company) and it took us quite q bit of time to get it working well here, but we got there in the end!

Thanks Sam!

🙂

 

Edited by Fraser53
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SamES
29 minutes ago, Fraser53 said:

the TV is an Australian model so it can play our DVBt tv just fine, however, when the streams are captured by the HD Homerun tuners, the Emby client running on the same hardware is unable to play the same files without transcoding on the server side. This is where SageTV excells, it can record 4 streams and play 4 streams all "time-shifted" at the same time and not get over 8% CPU on my little USFF desktop "server". I did notice at one point Emby server was transcoding a h264 stream to a h264qsv (or something like that) for playing on the TV.

I'm guessing at the moment we have some channels broadcasting using MPEG2 and some using h264. this would explain why some channels were transcoding and others were not, but I still think the TV should have been able to deal with all the streams anyway (but i am assuming the client has proper access to the TV's hardware. At the moment my SageTV setup uses dedicated set top boxes on each TV to connect to the server, and these boxes can play most files natively, but as they are over 10 years old now, they can't do the newer h265 stuff. it's such a shame we are such a small market here in Australia so there is little reason for all the US companies to make their software work well here on our PAL DVBt system 😞

I was one of the Beta testers with SageTV before Google bought them out (and shut down the original company) and it took us quite q bit of time to get it working well here, but we got there in the end!

Thanks Sam!

🙂

 

Which channels cause you to transcode?  I'm in Australia as well and use a HDHomeRun.  All my channels play back fine without transcoding (as far as I know).

What TV model do you have and which app version?

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Fraser53

Sam, I've attached some grabs from the dashboard that shows some transcoding and one not, and the app version and TV model.

 

Cheers,

Fraser

1.JPG

2.JPG

3.JPG

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SamES

All good here, can you post any transcode logs for those sessions

image.png.aa2835265811caafd27b1e71cef96732.png

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Fraser53
Posted (edited)

Just a quick update Sam, I have now upped the bitrate setting on the TV's app to 4k 120Mbs and it seems to have stopped the transcoding, however now the skipping forward and back is really slow and results in a spinning circle for 5 - 10 seconds, and sometimes the app crashes and does nothing but a black screen.

 

Edited by Fraser53
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Fraser53

If you are watching a channel and pause it for a bit, then play, then skip forward say 30 seconds, do you get the spinning circle for 5 - 10 seconds before it resumes playing?

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SamES
2 hours ago, Fraser53 said:

If you are watching a channel and pause it for a bit, then play, then skip forward say 30 seconds, do you get the spinning circle for 5 - 10 seconds before it resumes playing?

Yes, but if it's DirectPlay then you can't really skip forward/back is there isn't much of a buffer.  I think you'll find that regardless of whether you skip forward or back you always end up at the current/live playback time. 

Pause and then play from that point works, but I expect that you can't do it for very long.

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Fraser53

Ahh, okay , so that is very different behavior to SageTV, once you start watching a given channel it "records" it and will continue to do so until you change the channel, at which point it will delete the file, so you can skip forward and backwards within the time that the channel has been selected, so for example, you could watch the beginning of a show, hit pause for half an hour or more, then come back and continue, and skip forward past ads untill you "catch up" and if you like the showt you can hit record and it will then save the file from when you first started watching it until the scheduled end time (or more if one of the settings called end padding is set for a period of time) durung all this the playback of the show is seamless.

Sam, is there a setting to save the streams in a different container than .ts, as I read that is why the skipping is delayed, something to do with the container.

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SamES

Yes, the client only plays the live stream from HDHR in DirectPlay mode so the server isn't buffering anything.  In Transcode or DirectSream mode, because it has to convert the live stream into a streamable format it does buffer some content, but not necessarily a lot..

I use the auto convert feature on the server against my Recording Library.  Playback in .ts container deems to be troublesome sometimes.  You can change how often the Scheduled Task runs if you want programs converted quicker.  I expect this is also faster if you have a GPU

image.thumb.png.b19afb734c1feaaed6889d49fc17800f.png

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Fraser53

Ah okay Sam, it looks like Emby is not aimed at behaving like a PVR, but more like a media server with recording capabilities, which is not really what I'm after :-(.

(Which is really where it comes from really) I wish SageTV and Emby would combine their efforts, we would have an Awesome system. 

 

Thanks heaps for your help in explaining how it works, it's just not going to work for me.

Cheers,

 

Fraser

 

 

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SamES

I imagine in time these features may come, Emby is always evolving with new capabilities.

Feel free to raise a feature request here, or check as there may already be one similar which you can add your support to.  This is what helps drive developments.

Feature Requests - Emby Community

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Fraser53

You are not going to believe this Sam, but I just tried the iOS Emby client on an old Ipad mini and it works the same as SageTV, the skips are almost instant. i upped the bitrate so it is Direct Playing the same as the tv. When watching the same channel on the TV the skipping fwd or back results in a spinning circle for maybe 3 -5 seconds on each skip! so maybe the problem is the Samsung client. do you know if it is being further developed?

Cheers,

 

Fraser

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SamES

Yes, the Samsung client is being further developed, but the iOS and Samsung TV clients use a different internal player.  In the case of the Samsung client it is the TV's native player and it has very limited buffering ability (typically 10 seconds of playback and Samsung have usually advised not to change it).  We don't have the ability modify the actual player.

https://developer.samsung.com/smarttv/develop/api-references/samsung-product-api-references/avplay-api.html#AVPlay-AVPlayManager-setBufferingParam

Additionally, this buffering amount is the amount to buffer before playback commences/resumes or after skipping, and playback won't resume until after that amount of data has been buffered.  For example, if we set this to 60 seconds to allow a big buffer, every time you skip it will wait to resume playback until 60 seconds of playback data has been buffered which could be significant on a 4K movie, then the user experience will be terrible in nearly all scenarios.  This is why 10 seconds was the previous advice.

I expect other players have better/more dynamic buffering abilities (ie: they can start playing with a smaller buffer, then buffer ahead/behind as required)

Unfortunately this is not something that's easy for us to improve in this player.

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Fraser53

Ah, okay, but why does it skip perfectly when viewing library files or streams that are being transcoded?

Fraser

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SamES
1 hour ago, Fraser53 said:

Ah, okay, but why does it skip perfectly when viewing library files or streams that are being transcoded?

Fraser

When transcoding the server is creating small temporary file segments on the server which the client can call up as required.  Because they're small, they load quickly, and they stay on the server until the playback session completes so skip/rewind are supported.  Effectively it creates enough segments to start playback, then it keeps creating as many was it can, as fast it is allowed to (it can also be throttled by the server to balance load). 

Open an ffmpeg-transcode log from the server and after the top section you can see the segments being created.

 

image.thumb.png.8d0923d7da687d010d8c5c9106c8d3a9.png

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